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Wed, 16 Aug 2017
The World for People who Think

Health & Wellness


Pesticide biotech continues to threaten environmental and human health

© Medical News Today
Pesticides are taking a major toll on health across the globe. According to a recent United Nations (UN) report,1 pesticides are responsible for 200,000 acute poisoning deaths each year, and chronic exposure has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, hormone disruption, developmental disorders and sterility.2

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a research arm of the World Health Organization and the "gold standard" in carcinogenicity research, found glyphosate - the active ingredient in Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world - is a probable human carcinogen.3,4 As of July 2017, glyphosate is listed as a known carcinogen under California's Proposition 65,5 which means products containing glyphosate must carry a cancer warning label.

Pesticides like Roundup also threaten the health of the soil, thereby threatening the very future of agriculture itself, as healthy soils are key for growing food.6 So grave are the concerns over the health and environmental effects of pesticides, the UN's report proposes a global treaty to phase them out and transition to a more sustainable agricultural system.


Drugged nation: Over one third of Americans were prescribed opiate pain medications in 2015

© Global Look Press
The United States needs to curb excessive opioid prescribing and improve access to pain management techniques, suggests a new government study.

Researchers found that more than one third of U.S. adults were prescribed the medications in 2015 and many also misused the drugs.

"A very large proportion and large number of adults use these medications in a given year," said study author Dr. Wilson Compton, deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Maryland. "I was still a bit surprised that 38 percent or about 92 million people used prescription opioids in 2015."

Limited data on the prescription of opioids and their abuse are available despite the number of deaths from drug overdoses in the U.S. having quadrupled between 1999 and 2015, Compton and his colleagues write in the Annals of Internal Medicine, online July 31.

For the new study, the researchers analyzed data from 51,200 adults collected in 2015 during face-to-face interviews for the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Based on those interviews, the researchers estimate about 38 percent of U.S. adults were prescribed an opioid in 2015.

Comment: New study confirms big pharma & federal govt root cause of opioid epidemic


US soda consumption at a 31-year low

© ABC News
Soda consumption in the United States fell to a 31-year low in 2016, according to Beverage-Digest. That decline can mainly be attributed to waning demand among health-conscious consumers.

Here's how much each drink category grew between 2015 and 2016, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation.
The theme is easy to spot: Lower-calorie products like value-added water (sparkling, flavored, and "enhanced" waters), bottled water, coffee, and tea are attracting more shoppers. Higher-calorie products, like sugary sodas and fruit beverages, are fading.

That would seem like terrible news for Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) and PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), but both companies have been diversifying away from sodas with bottled water, teas, sports drinks, and other higher-growth beverages.

Comment: See also:


Monsanto Papers: Leaked docs reveal scientific mischief and regulatory collusion

The other shoe just dropped.

Four months after the publication of a batch of internal Monsanto Co. documents stirred international controversy, a new trove of company records was released early Tuesday, providing fresh fuel for a heated global debate over whether or not the agricultural chemical giant suppressed information about the potential dangers of its Roundup herbicide and relied on U.S. regulators for help.

More than 75 documents, including intriguing text messages and discussions about payments to scientists, were posted for public viewing early Tuesday morning by attorneys who are suing Monsanto on behalf of people alleging Roundup caused them or their family members to become ill with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.

The attorneys posted the documents, which total more than 700 pages, on the website for the law firm Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman, one of many firms representing thousands of plaintiffs who are pursuing claims against Monsanto. More than 100 of those lawsuits have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation in federal court in San Francisco, while other similar lawsuits are pending in state courts in Missouri, Delaware, Arizona and elsewhere. The documents, which were obtained through court-ordered discovery in the litigation, are also available as part of a long list of Roundup court case documents compiled by the consumer group I work for, U.S. Right to Know.


The Concentration of Power in the Food Industry: What We Eat is Dependent Upon Who's in Control

Most of us have little to no idea how behind-the-scenes forces control the food we buy, and the depth of the corruption involved. Philip Howard, Ph.D., author of "Concentration and Power in the Food System: Who Controls What We Eat?," studies food system changes, with an emphasis on visualizing these trends.1
"My motivation [for writing the book] was to uncover what's going on, to help people understand who owns what and all the strategies these dominant firms use to further increase their power," he says.
His work has been featured by many prominent media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. He's an associate professor in the department of community sustainability at Michigan State University and holds a Ph.D. in rural sociology.


The Poison Papers: Secret concerns of industry & regulators on the hazards of pesticides and other chemicals

© Risa Scott/RF Scott Imagery
Some of the more than 100,000 pages of discovery material related to the chemical industry that were stored in Carol Van Strum’s barn in rural Oregon.
The Bioscience Resource Project and the Center for Media and Democracy released a trove of rediscovered and newly digitized chemical industry and regulatory agency documents Wednesday stretching back to the 1920s. The documents are available here.

Together, the papers show that both industry and regulators understood the extraordinary toxicity of many chemical products and worked together to conceal this information from the public and the press. These papers will transform our understanding of the hazards posed by certain chemicals on the market and the fraudulence of some of the regulatory processes relied upon to protect human health and the environment.


Interview with Dr. Jacob Puliyel: WHO's revised norms are allowing the use of unsafe vaccines

© CDC Global
“Every time there is a death after vaccination, we have WHO-trained experts saying that because the other children who received vaccine from the same vial did not die, this death cannot be due to the vaccine.” — Jacob Puliyel, MD
Even as India plans to introduce new vaccines into its national immunization program, two public health experts have flagged serious flaws in international standards adopted in 2013 to assess deaths that may occur from adverse reactions to vaccinations.

An Adverse Event Following Immunization or AEFI is an untoward medical occurrence that follows immunization. In the old system of classification of AEFIs, called the Brighton classification, if illness or death occurred soon after a vaccine was administered and no other cause of death could be found, then the death was termed as "possibly" or "probably" caused by the vaccine.

Comment: Read more from Scientists who have come out against vaccines
When researching scientists' recommendations for public health policies in regards to vaccines, it is surprising how few of them support vaccination unless they work for the pharmaceutical industry.

In order for vaccines to be truly safe and effective, adverse reactions would be rare and breakouts of vaccine-preventable diseases among vaccine compliant populations would be rare or non-existent. Clearly, neither outcome is reality. The science does not support the statement that vaccines are safe and effective. This is not a scientific finding. This is a marketing slogan taught to doctors in medical school.


UK: Massive row ensues over importation of chlorine-washed chickens from the US

This image shows the chickens being doused in chlorine at a farm in the United States.
The disturbing prospect of chlorine-washed chickens from the US going on sale in British shops in a post-Brexit trade deal last week sparked an explosive row at the heart of Government.

But beyond the politics lies the story of why American poultry needs such drastic chemical treatment - and of the horrendous conditions at the farms where they are bred and reared.

Now whistleblower farmers have revealed the full horror of the suffering to The Mail on Sunday, including how:
  • Tens of thousands of super-sized 'Frankenstein' birds are crammed in vast warehouses.
  • The chickens, which weigh up to 9lb, often buckle under their weight and must live without natural sunlight.
  • Chickens frequently die before they reach maturity and many are left covered in their own faeces, turning warehouses into vile breeding grounds for disease.
Unlike in the UK and Europe, there are no minimum space requirements for breeding chickens in the US. America also does not have any rules governing lighting levels in the sheds and, crucially, its farms have no maximum allowed level of ammonia, which indicates how much urine and faecal matter is present. This means there is no limit on how much can fester inside the sheds.


Why do humans yawn?

© Michael Haegele/Corbis
Yawning starts before you're born and has often been associated with boredom or being tired. But, research now suggests there is more to this simple behavior than you may have imagined. It is as involuntary as breathing in many cases and likely has more than one trigger.

Scientists are split into two camps - one believes yawning has a physiological cause and physical benefit, while the other believes yawning is psychologically triggered and once was used as means of communication.1 What we do know is that all humans and most animals yawn for one reason or another.

One popular theory behind yawning is related to the shallowness of your breathing. In other words, the more shallow your breathing, the less oxygen enters your blood. In response, your body triggers a yawn that increases the amount of air you breathe in and increases your blood oxygen level.

However, a compelling theory explored by Princeton University researcher Andrew C. Gallup, Ph.D., and colleagues links yawning to sleep deprivation, tiredness and cooling your brain.2

Comment: More on yawning:


Healthcare for dogs is becoming more breed-specific

If you love dogs and have the chance of owning one yourself, then you quickly realize that - just like having a child - you have a life whose medical care is in your hands. Of course, you want the best care that money can buy and that starts with taking a proactive position on the subject.

But did you know that care of your dog has begun to shift throughout the veterinarian profession from one that relies on a general understanding of canine health problems to one that recognizes that each breed has its own peculiarities that are best served by breed-specific health care options?

We are a nation of specialists. When we have trouble with our eyes, we see an eye doctor - an ophthalmologist. When we have trouble with our feet, we see a podiatrist, and so on and so forth.

According to the website DogTime, there are more than 200 different breeds of dogs, a number that will change depending on what organization you consult, given they might have different criterion they use to define or recognize a breed. The American Kennel Club, which is frequency considered an authority on the subject, currently recognizes 189 different breeds of dogs, although their standards are considered relatively exacting and rigorous compared to others.